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Govt investments in technical universities impressive - Dr Sarpong

BY: Pacome Emmanuel Damalie
Professor David Kofi Essumang (left) and Dr K.K. Sarpong (right) at the Congregation
Professor David Kofi Essumang (left) and Dr K.K. Sarpong (right) at the Congregation

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Dr K.K. Sarpong, has lauded the government for “showing a commitment to develop the technical universities” in the country.

He said since the current government took office, it had made significant investments in infrastructure, human resource, and other critical areas of the technical universities to enable them to effectively discharge their mandate.

Dr Sarpong said this when he delivered the keynote address at the 16th Congregation of the Koforidua Technical University which coincided with the induction into office of Professor David Kofi Essumang as the first Vice-Chancellor (V-C) of the institution.

National development

He said the technical universities had a crucial role to play in nation buidling, and that it was, therefore, important that they undertook research that could be applied to yield practical benefits even as they prepared their students for the world of work.

Dr Sarpong was himself honoured at the event as "Ambassador of Technical Universities and Technical Vocational Education in Ghana".

He urged the technical universities to be mindful of industry’s search for graduates with skills, and, therefore, tasked them to spare no effort in ensuring that the students were prepared to meet the demands of the times.

He said the outbreak of COVID-19 had brought out innovation in young men and young women with technical and vocational education enterprises and diverse safety gadgets, including the production of mechanised hand-washing machines in Ghana, adding that the technical universities should build on such skills.

Industry

While congratulating Professor Essumang on his appointment, Dr Sarpong urged him to be innovative and technologically-minded to lead the university into a prosperous future.

He encouraged him to collaborate with industry for mutual benefits, and to take bold steps to recommend to industry to see the worth of technical university education.

Dr Sarpong said it was common knowledge that the world’s economy was in crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic which had compelled many corporate organisations and businesses to fold up.

“What this means is that support and sponsorship from corporate social responsibility models will dwindle, but this should not deter the universities from courting and collaborating with industry,” he said.

Changing education landscape

A Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, urged the V-C to put in place measures that reflected the times and to be also responsive to the critical needs of society.

He warned that if leadership and stakeholders of technical universities did not navigate carefully and appoint responsible executives to steer affairs in line with their laid down mandate, the transition from polytechnic to technical university might lose direction.

He added that the transition of polytechnics into technical universities would compel students to move seamlessly into higher levels of technical and vocational training rather than shift to grammar-based programmes at the tertiary level.

Lifting KTU

In his inaugural address, Prof. Essumang said his special focus was to build a solid body of well-trained graduates in science and technology in various fields in readiness for the skills needed in the job market or to become owners of personal businesses.